How to: get 5* ratings on your Christmas Airbnb bookings

Christmas is coming, and with it the traditions of glad tidings, Christmas trees and gift-giving – as well as the occasional family fued  ! Our most-beloved Christmas memories often take place at home, which is why making your place homely, festive and comfortable this Winter is guaranteed to bring a smile to guests’ faces, and 5*s to your listing reviews. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve pulled together some simple, hassle-free tips for making guests feel at home during Christmas bookings below:

  1. Make it a family affair

Though traditions vary from family to family, but a Christmas tree is an almost unanimous staple. And while they’re by no means mandatory, adding one to your living space for Airbnb guests to enjoy is a great way to show incoming families that you care about their in-stay experience. It’s guaranteed to make any little ones feel welcome too, and stockings hung on the beds booked by younger guests is another thoughtful way to give guests an unbeatable festive stay.

  1. The gift of giving

Sharing your home with paying guests is rewarding in itself, but giving gifts has to take the medal for the best way to achieve inner-joy during the holidays. So why not double-up on glad tidings and give your paying guests a little something extra? Some inexpensive yet thoughtful ideas that are proven to go down a treat are crackers, mince pies and cards. Line these up where there’ll be spotted as soon as they’ve settled in and the 5* reviews (and warm, fuzzy feelings) are sure to make an appearance.

  1. Comfort and joy

Ensuring guests are comfy and cosy goes beyond making sure the boiler is serviced and the manual is easily accessible – though that definitely helps! A great way to ensure your home is the perfect place for families to snuggle up and enjoy the holiday season is to provide atmospheric extras such as candles, throws and blankets. A plentiful DVD supply will also keep smiles on faces, especially if there are some festive favourites in there too! In case you’re wondering, ours is Elf.

  1. Warming welcomes

If you’re able to greet your guest in person, mulled wine (or hot Ribena for the under-aged members of the party!) is a lovely way to set a guests’ first impressions soaring, while also putting them in the holiday mood. If not, we know a great Airbnb property management service that are happy to take care of it for you, provided you provide the essentials (hint: it’s us).

  1. Think festive

A great Airbnb listing should provide insightful local recommendations as well as neighbourhood tips. But a first-class listing goes the extra mile, and this includes updating local recommendations to include the city’s Winter attractions, like pop-up ice rinks, themed bars and Christmas markets (e.g. Winter Wonderland). Another great idea, and one that will certainly be appreciated by guests – and reflected in their reviews – is to offer specific area tips for those planning to venture out during the bank holidays. We’ve found the two most important to be: when the supermarkets are closed, and when the tube won’t be running. You can find the latter here

So there you have it, 5 easy, quick ways to ensure your Christmas bookings are special, and ones that guests feel are deserving of 5*s. And if you do try out any of our tips, we’d love to see them in action – you can tag us on Facebook or mention us on Twitter!

Source: How to: get 5* ratings on your Christmas Airbnb bookings 

How to make your Airbnb business travel ready

By offering the chance to live like a local, Airbnb’s unique travel experience entices vacationers to step outside of their comfort zones (and hotels!)

However, with an unbelievable 10% of all Airbnb bookings now made by business travellers, a new type of guest is beginning to step into the spotlight. “But what’s in it for hosts?”, we hear you ask. The truth is… a lot!

Easy to Manage – with fixed travel plans and schedules that are rarely amended or cancelled at the last minute, managing a booking from a business traveller is incredibly easy for you as a host

The Best Kind of House Guest – business travellers also tend to be quiet, won’t be partying into the night, and will treat your home with respect. Giving them a place to stay will give you some peace of mind!

Big Spenders – it may not surprise you to know that this kind of guest spends an incredible amount of money on travel each year (more than $1.2 trillion, to be exact!) — a portion of which you could potentially pocket with your Airbnb listing…

So you’ve heard the benefits — now what?

While Airbnb do have their own requirements that hosts have to fulfil in order to be verified as Business Travel Ready, we here at Hostmaker have used our expertise to put together our own list of extra recommendations. Take our tips on board, and you’ll be welcoming business travellers to your home in no time.

  1. Wifi

We know, we know — who doesn’t have wifi these days? However, as business travellers will most likely be required to work throughout their stay, it is especially important that your wifi is not only fast, but reliable. Check the speed before your guests arrive, and maybe even consider upgrading your current wifi plan to help get those five-star ratings!

  1. Stock Must-Have Essentials

Think about anything you would expect to find in a hotel room on a business trip — an iron and ironing board for your crisp, white shirts (plus some hangers to hang them on!); a hair dryer to fluff up your feathers before your big meeting; a coffee maker to ensure that you’re bright-eyed and bushy tailed for that important pitch. If you want to go the extra mile, book Hostmaker’s pay-as-you-go housekeeping service. We’ll not only clean your home until it’s sparkling, but we also provide sugar, tea and coffee for all of our hosts!

  1. Create a Defined Workspace

A laptop-friendly workspace is a no-brainer when wanting to attract travelling professionals. However if you really want to put a smile on your guests face think about whether or not the space has…

  • Adequate lighting — no one wants to sign the wrong dotted line because they couldn’t see it in the first place!
  • Essential stationery such as pens, paper and envelopes — we checked, and people dostill write letters
  • A comfy and adjustable chair — the only thing worse than having to do work when you’re not in the office, is having to do it with a backache
  • Lots of plug points and adapters — for all of those uber-connected, high tech, professionals
  • Good signal and is in a quiet spot in the home — so guests can effortlessly talk to their bosses, co-workers, mothers, children, great aunts twice removed…

Consideration of all of these details will go a long way with business travellers!

  1. .

It is well-known that people travelling for business will arrive and leave at all hours. While using a lock box is always an option, having a friendly face to welcome a guest after a long trip will help them feel relaxed and right at home. Not much of a night owl? No problem! Why not try Hostmaker’s 24 hour meet and greet checkin service?


How to make your bed guest ready

As former hoteliers who look after 1,000 homes across four cities, we know one or two things about beds – we make hundreds of them every day! And as they also put one of the b’s in Airbnb, we take them very seriously.

All travellers know that coming home to a beautiful, comfy bed is the best possible way to end a busy day of shopping and sightseeing. As a result, beds can make or break your guests’ stay and even have a huge impact on your reviews.

With so much on the line for all of you hosts out there, we at Hostmaker have gathered our best tips and tricks, to give you a quick guide on how to make your bed guest ready. (You can thank us later!)

Avoid the Hotel Look

This piece of advice comes straight from our Lead Designer herself!

“I would actually go against the typical hotel-style bed; give the bed some personality and make it feel more like home” – Lauren Framp

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (and again and again!) – the reason that guests are flocking to Airbnb for their travel accommodation needs? Not just to visit a city, but to live there. While we understand the temptation to go with what you know and imitate a 5-star hotel bed spread, you can give your guests this same 5-star experience with a bed that has character.

Three is the Magic Number

The easiest way to do this without compromising on style? According to one of our Junior Designers, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

“Extra cushions and throw pillows will really make the bed feel homely – 3 is the best number as they will add something to the bed without going overboard, and it’ll help keep it symmetrical!” – Becky Marshall

Her other tip? An artfully draped throw or two. Don’t be afraid to mix textures and shades – consider different patterns or fabrics, lights and darks, or adding a bright pop of colour.

Count Those Threads!

Not literally, obviously. But according to one of our Housekeeping Supervisors, while you may not want your bed to look like it belongs in a hotel, it should feel like it does.

“During my year-long training at a leading hotel group, I learned how to make beds properly. But when I make my bed at home, it never feels the same – even when I use the same techniques! Now I know that it’s the quality of the linen that makes the difference” – Océane Chamoret

We suggest always buying the highest quality linen you can can afford to help tuck your guests in tight each night. Prefer not to make this kind of investment? Hostmaker’s pay-as-you-go housekeeping includes top quality linen that is laundered, ironed, starched and delivered to your home each time you use our service!

Safe and sound – security tips for first time hosts

So you’ve decided to host your home on Airbnb – congratulations! You’re about to join a whole community of people who understand that travelling is no longer about simply staying or visiting a place; it is about feeling as though you are living somewhere new (even just for a weekend!)

However, the popularity of home sharing grows, so do the horror stories. Suddenly you’re having second thoughts about putting your home online, and letting people you don’t even know sleep in your home.

As early adopters of Airbnb, and full-time managers of over 1,000 homes, we can absolutely assure you that these are rare occurrences, and for the most part are easily preventable. But we also understand that as a new host, you may have some trepidation. That is why we have put together this checklist, to help reassure you, and help you fully enjoy your adventures as an Airbnb host.

Bury Your Treasure

Whether it’s your family home, second home or your holiday home that you’re listing on Airbnb, we always encourage our hosts to remove any valuable or sentimental items from the areas of your house that your guests will be using. From fancy wedding crockery, to a homemade macaroni picture frames, and everything in between – if it’s valuable to you, it’s best to keep it safe. Even if guests are respectful, they might not give your great aunt Jane’s antique blue floral vase the same love and care that you do! That being said, we advise hosts to keep in mind that minor wear and tear is to be expected – much like you would if it were your own family coming to stay.

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Stick With What You Know

When it comes to communicating with guests, it’s best to keep this on the Airbnb platform, from the moment that they enquire about the booking, until the day before they check-in. While we do suggest that you provide a phone number for guests to contact you in case of emergencies or delays on their check-in day, speaking to guests through Airbnb up until this point not only makes it easier for both parties to keep track of any arrangements, but also means that you are protected under Airbnb’s terms of service, and their Host Guarantee, which provides up to £600,000 compensation for eligible damages.

Keep Guests in the Loop

At HostAStay, we swear by house manuals. Inside you can provide helpful tips about the local area, emergency services details – little things that can improve your guests’ stay and give them some peace of mind. More importantly however, it can be a friendly, helpful, and easy-to-use way to ask your guests to take care of anything valuable or fragile that you decide to leave in your home, as well as informing them of all the doors and windows that need locking before they leave the house.

Give a Key to a Friend, and Give Yourself Peace of Mind

Whilst there are gadgets and gizmos aplenty that help store spare keys out of site and right outside of your home, these are still not as safe as leaving your keys with someone that you trust. This also means that your guests will have access to keys in emergencies if you are out of town, and a friendly face to help them out in their time of need. If you don’t have any friends, or (more likely) you don’t want to bother them, HostAStay can look after your home and your keys!

If all of this sounds like too much to handle however, then don’t you worry! By signing up for HostAStay’s fully-managed service option, we will not only help you get your Airbnb listing live and chock-a-block with bookings, but we also store and track your keys in our secure warehouse, as well as taking the following additional security measures:

  • Vetting all guests making booking enquiries
  • Acting as a local point of contact for your guests before, during and after their stay, keeping as much of our communication as possible within the Airbnb app
  • Providing your guests with a house manual full of the little details that make your home unique, as well as informing them of any security measures that need to be taken

Interested? Find out more here!


Get down to the details: writing your Airbnb listing


Here at Hostmaker, we have in the past talked about how great interior design and stunning photos can make a difference to standing out on Airbnb. But there is another element to sharing your home on Airbnb that can encourage a guest to book a stay in your property: the description and the listing itself.

While you don’t have to be Shakespeare to write a great listing, we understand that the task can be quite daunting for people who are new to the platform. So the Hostmaker Blog team sat down with our very own Onboarding Manager, Kirsten Kinloch, to see if she had any pearls of wisdom to share with our lovely hosts. You are welcome in advance!


Writing an Eye-Catching Title

Location, location, location is the name of the game when writing a title for your listing – literally. Including the name of your local neighbourhood in the title not only gives people a better idea of where your home is, but can also help them plan their trip in a brand-new city by searching for restaurants and local gems!

According to Kirsten, in many ways the title of your listing is like the front door of your home:

While you do want to clearly include important information (for front doors, this is the house number; for Airbnb listings it is the location of the flat and the number of bedrooms), it is equally as important to make it look exciting and inviting! A quick and easy way to do this is to use alliteration. Everyone’s a sucker for a simple series of similar-sounding words!


Less is Not More

Some people think that being short and snappy means that people are more likely to book a stay in your home, as they don’t have to read through a lot of information. But this couldn’t be further from the truth:

You really can never say too much; in my experience, people love to hear about other peoples homes. According to Airbnb, only 30% of hosts really go the extra mile when filling out their extra descriptions. And you can be that these are the ones who get to share their home with the most guests! So get to filling out those extra description sections; each one gives you the opportunity to show off more about your home.

This step may take a bit of time, but we promise it is worth it!


Make it Sound Like You

We know, it’s very tempting to sit down and write about your home like you would if you were a realtor or a landlord. But don’t fall into this trap:

You’re not trying to sell your home; you really are just trying to share it with new people who love to travel and explore as much as you do! Think about writing your listing as if you were describing your home to a friend – what would be the key things that you would point out to them to get them excited? Lead with this, but don’t go over the top! Keep it simple, keep it friendly, and keep it like you.

Airbnb also suggest writing your listing with a specific person in mind. Think your home would be a great fit for honeymooners? Remember to note that you have romantic views of the city skyline. Is your home more suited for families with young children? They want to know about the park around the corner from your home.

Source: Hostmaker – Get down to the details: writing your Airbnb listing

Still feeling overwhelmed by this? Getting some writers block? Or just want someone else to take care of the hassle? Contact Host A Stay today to find out more about our Hands Off Hosting service

Top 5 Tips For Writing A Great Airbnb Listing Title